Burning Man Festivities Kick Off With A Lawsuit

The Burning Man festival begins today in the Black Rock Desert and the arts-hedonistic festival is kicking off with a lawsuit filed by the event’s organizers.

The lawsuit stems from what Burning Man officials have deemed a “drastic increase in fees” to hold the event.

In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Larry Harvey of San Francisco-based Black Rock City LLC said of the new costs:

“For more than 20 years, the Burning Man community has proudly made northern Nevada its home, providing millions of dollars annually to the local economy. We love Nevada. Unfortunately, Pershing County is making it difficult to continue doing business here. We intend to resolve this matter through reasonable means and work collaboratively with Nevadans to keep our business in the state.”

Fighting back over Burning Man’s claims, lawyers for the county state:

“Without giving an overall context to the information provided, Black Rock City LLC attempts to portray motivations that simply did not and do not exist .… The residents of Pershing County should not be required to flip the bill for the business conducted by a ($20 million plus) business.”

The cost to host the festival on public land has risen to $1.5 million, a cost that is paid partially to the US government’s Bureau of Land Management. In 2011, Burning Man paid $175,000 to host the event, and this year Pershing County demanded $400,000.

The fees argue the county are required to pay for an increasing number of law enforcement officers as the event continues to gain mass appeal and grow beyond its humble roots.


The biggest consideration at this time is that the fee will increase to $600,000 in 2013 and then head higher in the years to come, reaching more than $1 million in the near future.

In a press released from the county last week, the picture painted of the event was far different than that told by event organizers:

“While Black Rock City, LLC wants to portray the event as a fairytale land in their public relations, they fail to mention serious crimes that have occurred in the past and are expected to occur in the future.”

Do you think the Burning Man lawsuit should fall in favor of event organizers or should they foot the bill for increasing county costs for law enforcement?